Why did I translate “落照” into “the declining Light”?

   When I began to translate “落照の獄”, I had to decide its English title. No one gave this new story an English title at the moment. I translated “落照” into “the declining Light”. “落照” means “落日(the setting sun)”. Why didn’t I translate into “the setting sun”?

   The first time, I thought the story was not exciting but interesting when I read it. I think Ono sensei began to write this series as ライトノベル, but “落照の獄” is not light in any sense. In Japanese, “落日” has a negative image. When we see the sunset normally, we never use the word “落日”. If we use it, there is some negative background at that time. “落日” sometimes means, for example, “the collapse of the great country”, “the death of the great mind”, etc. “落照” has the same mood. Besides, we don’t use “落照” in everyday life even if written word, though “落日” we sometimes use as written word. “落照” is a very uncommon word for us, I mean the Japanese today. So I needed the translation word that was uncommon.

   “Rakushō no Goku” is a story of the country Ryu(柳). Ryu(柳) goes near to ruin, the power of the country is declining. Therefore, Ono sensei probably used the word “落照”. I felt the word “declining” has a negative mood and chose this. The sunset relates to light. So I translated “落照” into “the declining Light”.

   I also debated whether “A jail” or “The jail”. I consider this “獄” means not only the building where Shudatsu(狩獺) is locked up but also the country Ryu(柳). If I used “The jail”, it might confine the meaning of “獄” to the building where Shudatsu(狩獺) is locked up, I felt.

   Finally, I made the English title for “落照の獄” “A jail of the declining Light”. Still now, I don’t know if it was good or not.

10 replies on “Why did I translate “落照” into “the declining Light”?”

Last night I finished reading this story. It’s not very long, but because of work it took me a few days to read it all.
It’s a heartbreaking story and I think this is the first one when Ono sensei deals exclusively with de the decay of a kingdom. I do have to say that it is very insightful and well written. You can actually relate with the characters but that just makes it even worst.
I think is a good story, although a very sad one. Don’t you think?

Hi Delonix,

> I think is a good story, although a very sad one.

Certainly, yes. Very painful. So, I need a break after finishing the translation.

I don’t get what you say with the sentence “You can actually relate with the characters but that just makes it even worst.”. Don’t you mind if I ask what you mean exactly?

By the way, your new photos are so lovely. The flowers look very small.

What I meant by “you can actually relate” is that I understand the position and the feelings of the characters, they feel close to what I think, they are very well written so you believe they could be real people struggling with this desition. Also when I say “that makes it worst” what I mean is that since I understand them, I feel bad, because it’s a big issue with very little hope. Does that make more sense?
About the pictures. Yes, they are very small. It was dificult to get a good picture but they are so pretty and it’s a flower you hardly ever see on the internet, they don’t seem to be very important.


Yeah, it makes sense. Exactly, they are. When I read the story, I felt an unrelieved tragedy there. But I think they keep to struggle against it, like our doing in the real world, even if they have no hope.

About Trimezia martinicensis, we have a Japanese name for it, トリメジアヤメ. Some garden species of it exist?

Yes, the hopeless struggle seems to be the whole point of the story. That’ s what makes it so painful.
The garden species for T. martinicensis is T. steyermarkii.They usually get confused because they are only different in the pattern of the spots on the flower. T. steyermarkii is very common here, it grows rapidly and it’s very resistent, so once you have it in your garden it will stay for as long as you want.

Hi, sorry late reply.

Though I don’t know about gardening very much, The Japanese site I found seems to use the name トリメジアヤメ for both of them.

I see. I think garden species’ flower is often bigger than the original’s, am I right?

Yes, you are. Everybody likes big flowers or brightly coloured flowers, so when the producer is growing the plant, he often keeps the big ones or the ones with the nicest colors.

Hi, sorry late reply again.

Hmm, that’s human nature, I think.

Well, I’m waiting for a connecting flight to Narita at the Frankfurt airport now, ha-ha.
When I finish my trip, I’ll post about it, bye-bye.

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